• Thursday Memo

    Posted by Michelle Reid at 9/11/2014

    What a great second week.  Thank you all for working so hard these last two weeks as we start the new school year.  There is such a sense of promise and expectation on the part of our students from young to old.  We have close to 80 more kindergarteners this year than we started last year with; how exciting is that !!  Overall, our enrollment for the first time in many years has turned upward.  We are starting with more students in the district this year than we started with last year.  The enrollment chart to be presented to the Board this coming week is both positive and a testament to your hard work and commitment to excellence.  Thank you.

     

    I am so excited about the Town Hall meeting our Board will be hosting on Tuesday, September 16, 2014 at 6:00 p.m. at the South Kitsap High School Theatre. The meeting is open to the public and participation is encouraged. The featured topics will include:

    • School Security and Safety featuring Port Orchard Police Chief Marti
    • Changes in Graduation Requirements
    • Strategic Planning
    • School Boundary Realignment.

    It is an opportunity to join the conversation on these important topics.  I know many of you had questions, thoughts, and ideas following the bomb threat situation at the high school last spring.  It is important that we provide an opportunity to have a conversation that answers these important questions and explores our future expectations in safety related situations.  We will also begin the strategic planning and district re-boundary conversations.  As the latter is likely to be a topic of yeasty proportions, it is a good idea to be part of the conversation early. 

     

    As we endeavor to meet the needs of our increasing enrollment, our contractual commitment to lowering class sizes at both the elementary class size and secondary class size levels, minimizing classroom splits, and our roll-out of all-day kindergarten, we are continuing to add staff.  Also, schools are continuing to balance class sizes and sections to optimize the student learning experiences.  Please note these class size charts are subject to change. These adjustments are being made smoothly and collaboratively.

     

    Like many districts in the state, our district has participated in the Medicaid match program for many years.  Last year, in an effort to recognize the hard work going on in the schools on this important topic for children and families, the Cabinet recommended and communicated to principals that fifty percent of all monies generated by staff at a school would be returned to the school in the coming year.  These monies as charted will be distributed to school building budgets this week and represent monies that are not restricted and so may be used as the school plans and school leadership teams determine are best to support teaching and learning at the school level. 

     

    As many of you are aware, each school leadership team and office staff provided a prediction of the actual enrollment they would realize on the official State count day.  This prediction was collected at the District office with the results announced today at the principal meeting.  This has been a very tight competition and an important one as accurate projections assist us with planning.  The first place winners were Manchester and Cedar Heights.  Right on their heels, in second place was Marcus Whitman.  Overall, the results were positive and for those not in the winner circle, it is not too early to start working on next year ;>)  All trophies were donated. 

     

    As we return to school, I want to be mindful of the safety related to driving and many children on the roads and at bus stops.  Washington AAA has timely safety tips for all of us to consider and diligently abide by as the year unfolds, particularly as it gets light later and dark earlier.  Another great shout out to the Facilities Department as they have responded to innumerable requests in the past week.  It is reassuring to be on such a great team!!

     

    Finally, I would ask that each of you take a moment in the next day or two to be still and remember the events of 9/11 so many years ago now.  There are so many who lost their lives and so many others who lost loved ones.  As bells tolled solemnly today, Americans marked the 13th Anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks with the reading of the names (almost 3,000 of them), moments of silence and serene music that have become tradition.  I would ask that we remember and then reflect on what is positive  and take a moment to thank all of those who continue to serve, support, and protect us during these challenging times.  We are a land of the free because of the many who are brave.  Thank you.

     

    Enjoy a great week-end and Go SK Wolves, Seattle Mariners and Seattle Seahawks !!

     

    Warmest regards,

     

    Michelle Reid, Ed.D.

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  • Thursday Memo

    Posted by Michelle Reid at 9/4/2014
      

    What a fantastic start of the school year!!  I so appreciate all the hard work each of you have undertaken in each of your unique roles to make this such a smooth opening of school.  It takes everyone, with all your unique talents, to make our schools run smoothly and effectively.  Again, a big shout out to all the facilities, grounds and custodial staff for all the work done this summer to have our schools and grounds look so great.  Well done!  Also, thank you to the intrepid transportation drivers, mechanics and support staff as we start off another year with all the busses running smoothly and safely.  The first day lunch choices were healthy and satisfying thanks to our nutrition services staff.  I particularly enjoyed the fresh vegetables available (and the pepperoni pizza of course ;>)

     

    Thank you also to all the teachers, para-educators, principals, and district support staff who have worked so hard and are so welcoming to all the students joining us this year.  Our family just keeps growing.  As we endeavor to meet the needs of our increasing enrollment, our contractual commitment to lowering class sizes at both the elementary class size and secondary class size levels, minimizing classroom splits, and our roll-out of all-day kindergarten, we have already committed to thirty-seven extra teachers this year over last year.  I know you join me in welcoming these new teachers to our family.  Please note these class size charts are subject to change. 

     

    I want to celebrate with each of you that our enrollment numbers are up across the board from our budgeted projections.  For the first time in several years, we are starting the school year with more students than we started the school year last year with according to preliminary numbers.  This is great news and a testament to your hard work.  We have more kindergarten students than anticipated and are continuing to enroll students at all of our schools. While this is a celebration for all of us, it also presents some challenges at certain schools as we are running out of classroom space at several of our schools.  Again, while this is a good problem to have, it also signals the importance of the need to re-boundary the school district. 

     

    I want to remind each of you about the three major district-wide committees that will be in place for the year.  These three groups will be informing the future of our school district for the next generation.  The three groups are 1) Strategic Planning which began in early August and will report to the Board by February 1, 2015, with a recommendation for the Strategic Plan for the District.  The upcoming Board Town Hall meeting on Tuesday, September 16 at the high school theatre, will kick off a more public conversation on this important topic.  The Board also has a Board retreat scheduled for Saturday, October 4, to discuss the process for this important work; and 2) District Re-Boundary, Grade Level Realignment and Possible School Closure metrics group will begin meeting later this month and make a recommendation to the Board by March 1, 2015; and 3) Long Range Capital Facilities Planning Group which has started meeting over the summer and will continue to meet in the coming year.  This group will make a thirty year recommendation on our facilities by May 1, 2015.  If you are interested in participating in any of these groups, please e-mail bell@skitsap.wednet.edu.

     

    After several staff members expressed concerns this past year about the classroom door locking mechanisms, we have found a workable solution that is financially feasible.  Our Facilities Department has test piloted these exquisitely simple devices and had them approved by our fire district for safety and use.  This device enables teachers to lock their classroom doors from the inside without going outside their classroom in the event of a security emergency.  Please check in with your principal as to the install date and directions for use of these locking mechanisms.  Thank you to our facilities staff for this cost effective safety solution. 

     

    Northwest Asphalt was busy today at Cedar Heights JHS completing the installation of a new parking lot. The first section, added last week, was donated to the school district under an agreement with Rush Construction and the City of Port Orchard. It added 41 paved parking spaces for the campus. The second section, along the Cedar Heights baseball field 3rd base line, will create a paved bus staging area, car parking for baseball games, and overflow parking for school events. This is so appreciated.

     

    Finally, I am so pleased by the strong summer reading work so many of our students in the district participated in over the summer.  The Port Orchard Branch of the Kitsap Library System has compiled data for the 2014 Summer of Learning which are impressive.  This partnership is so beneficial for our students.  I continue to be thrilled to serve you as this new year begins and know we are making such a difference in the lives of so many young people.  It matters.  Thank you.

     

    Warmest regards,

     

    Michelle Reid, Ed.D.

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  • Another Year Begins

    Posted by Michelle Reid at 9/3/2014

    And so, it is beginning to feel like that time of the year again.  The sun is rising a bit later and setting a bit earlier than usual; the Seahawks are returning to the gridiron and the Mariners are hot in the playoff hunt…  So, it must be time for school to start.

    I am thrilled to be able to welcome all of our South Kitsap School District students and staff back to school.  There are so many exciting opportunities for students planned for the 2014-15 school year.  Our staff has been busy over the summer preparing for the upcoming year as we are offering many new courses, programs, and experiences while continuing to build on the strengths and traditions of prior years. 

    With the addition of AP courses at the 9-12 grade levels, Pacific Rim languages at the secondary schools, selected STEM focused schools, an elementary Spanish Immersion Program, IB candidate schools at all levels, enhanced CTE courses, all day kindergarten, advanced mathematics at earlier grade levels, adding orchestra to the high school, etc., we continue to be responsive to community expectations for our schools.  We never forget that we exist to serve the children of this community.

    I encourage students and families to attend the Open House events scheduled at all schools this fall and to frequent the district web-site as critical information is easily accessible as well as district and school calendar information.  You can also use our district Facebook page or sign up to follow us on Twitter.  Family involvement is so critical for student success.  There are so many ways to get involved and be informed. 

    I continue to be so awed by the generosity of this proud community.  Our recent Back to School celebration, attended by approximately  five thousand people, and the provision of school supplies for so many of our children, was made possible by the generous donations of time and money by so many staff and community volunteers.  Thank you. 

    I look forward to seeing you at the many school and community events scheduled for the coming weeks and months.  Please feel free to share your thoughts and ideas with me as we continue to improve our program of studies for the children of this great district.  Together all things are possible. 

    Warmest regards, 

    Michelle Reid, Ed.D.
     
     
     
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  • Thursday Memo

    Posted by Michelle Reid at 8/28/2014

    What a great week we have had and the weather has remained amazing.  I am so excited by all the hard work going on all across the district this week in preparation for the start of the school year.  The entire South Kitsap family has been hard at work on all fronts.  Our Facilities staff has been amazing over the course of the summer as all school sites and departments have been spruced up and significant projects completed on time and within budget.  Thank you to our generous community for the local levy funds that have enabled us to spruce up our schools in preparation for another great year of learning.  It matters. 

     

    We are so blessed to have many community partnerships with our district.  One such partnership, with the Navy, was out in force sprucing up the campus at South Colby.  A great deal of work was done and the campus looks great for the start of school as we look forward to welcoming the young Bobcats back to school next week.

     

    Our transportation bus driver in-service started the week off on Monday with a full day of professional development and training to prepare for the start of the school year.  They met at the high school and focused on safety and security topics.  The Food and Nutrition Services staff met at Marcus Whitman today as they reviewed effective practices and prepared for the coming school year. 

     

    On Wednesday, we welcomed all district certificated staff to a day of learning at the high school.  It was a day filled with learning; approximately 700 certificated staff participated in Learning Improvement Day activities.  Patty Maxwell from the Center of Educational Leadership presented to all staff about the 5D+ Instructional Framework. There were 20 content/grade level specific sessions being held at the high school in the afternoon.  We also had trainers from different publishers on site.  District curriculum coordinators, department chairs, principals, and directors led articulation sessions for  the visual and performing arts, world language, science, social studies, PE and health, mathematics, and career and technical education.  Special Education staff received training on their new IEP online program, Hidden Creek participated in their International Baccalaureate training and Olalla received Project Lead the Way training.  It takes teamwork and planning to coordinate such a day.  Many thanks to the hard work of Shannon Thompson, Eurydice Pentz, Kelly Wilcox, and Christie Christman for their efforts to ensure the day went smoothly.  I loved the energy and enthusiasm staff brought to the meeting and the work on the transition to the CEL instructional framework.  Of special interest in this training was the cycle of inquiry that is a practice in this work.  more to come on this topic…

     

    Following my welcome remarks, our message to Secretary Arne Duncan is one that we hope will resonate across the country.  Please note the link to YouTube Respect Video. As our nation wrestles with many challenging topics, I encourage us to remember that every profession, including those serving in Congress and state legislatures, owe a deep debt of gratitude to the teachers who prepared them well for their current roles.  All across this proud nation, teachers, school support staff, and principals work hard every day to provide hope, inspiration and real tools for the countless children who will shape our future.  These hardworking and committed educators deserve our respect. 

     

    As the year begins, one of my obligations is to annually share with the staff the provisions of Executive Limitation (EL) 4 as it relates to the work of the district, the School Board expectations for my performance, and our work together.  Essentially, this EL addresses “ that with respect to interactions with paid and volunteer staff, the Superintendent shall not cause or allow conditions, procedures, actions, or decisions which are unlawful, unethical, unsafe, disrespectful, unnecessarily disruptive, or in violation of Board policy.”  I know you will review EL 4 at your schools and departments in the coming weeks and want to highlight its importance in our work together.

     

    Like each of you, I am looking forward to our new school year and all the adventures we have yet to experience.  Our journey together continues…

     

    Warmest regards,

     

    Michelle Reid, Ed.D.

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  • Thursday Memo

    Posted by Michelle Reid at 8/21/2014

    What a great week we are having.  On Saturday, the Tenth Annual Back to School Celebration was a grand success with many children receiving much needed school supplies.  The final count of attendees for the event was approximately five thousand.  I want to share a heartfelt thank you to all those volunteers, including staff, students, and community, including our very own SKHS marching band, that put in countless hours preparing for this important event.  This event is the realization of a dream ten years ago to make a difference as we committed to our Whole Child focus.  I also want to thank all those who donated money, supplies, talent, and time to make this event the success it has become.  It matters.  When we work together for the greater good, all things are possible.  I also learned to watch out for the pirates!!

     

    New Teacher Orientation was held this past week with the Human Resources Department providing leadership for the welcome of certificated teachers to our district family.   This was a great day as we welcomed close to fifty new teachers to the district.  Nuts and Bolts was held earlier today with all District Leadership Team members attending as well as office coordinators from all schools and departments.  This three and a half hour session focused on department updates and strategic district initiatives. 

     

    On a note that affects all of us in the district, the District Insurance Committee has been busy this summer.  They have been researching and reviewing an exhaustive array of health insurance plans.  We are so blessed to have such a diligent group of staff doing this difficult and necessary work on our behalf.  The presentation on this topic shared at both the Board meeting and the Nuts and Bolts session is informative and describes the change in health insurance.  The accompanying handouts describe in more detail the shift we will be making in our insurance coverage.  There will be more information to come on this topic.  We are so grateful for the committee work on our behalf. 

     

    The Spanish Immersion class is almost full with very few seats left so anyone out there still thinking of becoming part of this unique learning community should likely complete an application as soon as possible for placement consideration in the fall class.  This program has so many advantages for early language acquisition, especially for the very young.  I am so thrilled that the staff at Burley Glenwood are taking on this program as have twenty eight other school districts in our state.  It is so inspiring to see families and staff so excited about this instructional program implementation.  The following link from the Spanish Immersion Program by Minnetonka Public Schools http://vimeo.com/14073214 provides an informative look into what an immersion program entails and how one district in the country has captured the experience. 

     

    Our summer lunch program was another successful endeavor as we served 12,427 meals. This program fills such an important need in our community over the summer months.  Thank you to all those staff and volunteers who make this summer lunch program such a success for so many.  

     

    A new initiative beginning this coming year will be a partnership with the YMCA to provide before school childcare on site at two of our elementary schools.  You will recall that we surveyed parents at all elementary schools this past spring to gain an understanding of interest in having this support at our schools.  Parents at Burley Glenwood and Sunnyslope had the most interest in such an arrangement.  To that end, these two schools will begin the program this year.  

     

    Please enjoy the rest of the week as we prepare for the excitement of the start of school and the beginning of fall athletics and activities just around the corner. 

     

    Warmest regards,
     

    Michelle Reid, Ed.D.

     
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  • Thursday Memo

    Posted by Michelle Reid, Ed.D. at 8/14/2014

    I trust this note finds you enjoying a great summer week.  I thought the thunder and lightning storm earlier in the week was a bit breathtaking.  Work continues to flourish all across the district.  Sunnyslope Elementary School is sporting a fresh coat of paint and the well project at Olalla is being completed.  The roof at Sidney Glen Elementary School is now also complete and looks great.  Thanks so much to our Facilities staff and community for their hard work and support of these projects. 

    District staff and community volunteers continue to work hard to prepare for the Tenth Annual Back to School Celebration.  This is such an important activity for our students, families and community.  It is also a unique effort that highlights the compassion and dedication the staff of the district and schools have for the educational future of all of our children – no exceptions.  This event will take place on Saturday, August 16, beginning at 11:00 am.  Last year, we recorded approximately five thousand people who attended.  Thank you all staff and to our community partners. This is an example of collaboration between the schools and the community.  Many businesses and persons in the community have donated money and supplies to support this necessary endeavor.  Many others will also be donating their time to be present on Saturday for immunizations, haircuts and to share more about community activities.  We so appreciate it.  Thank you. 

    This week, there was more news on the current ESEA situation as it affects us in our state.  While our state requested a waiver on sending the ‘letters’ to families regarding the ESEA metrics, we have been turned down.  State Schools Superintendent Randy Dorn requested that the Department of Education extend reasoned flexibility; but, as the first and so far only state to lose its waiver status, there will be no exception granted on the sending of the letters regarding NCLB requirements.  I believe that we have excellent schools here in the South Kitsap School District, and hardworking staff every day doing whatever it takes to improve the teaching and learning experience for each child – no exceptions.  Like many across this country, I believe there are enough difficult strategic initiatives we are shouldering (many of which have been prescribed by those outside education) that we do not need any further negative energy to mitigate.  In our house, we will continue to nurture growth, inspire achievement and build community. 

    The District International Baccalaureate (IB) Leadership Team met this week to discuss the new program initiative for the district.  Planning was reviewed for the teacher professional development upcoming in August and throughout the year.  The goal of the leadership group, made up of the principal and coordinator from each IB candidate school (Orchard Heights, Hidden Creek, Cedar Heights, and the High School), is to align this important planning and preparation work across the district.  Thank you to those who are working so hard on this collaborative project. 

    The Spanish Immersion class is continuing to fill with very few seats left so anyone out there still thinking of becoming part of this unique learning community should likely complete an application as soon as possible for placement consideration in the fall class.  This program has so many advantages for early language acquisition, especially for the very young.  I am so thrilled that the staff at Burley Glenwood are taking on this program as have twenty eight other school districts in our state.  It is so inspiring to see families and staff so excited about this instructional program implementation.  The following link from the Spanish Immersion Program by Minnetonka Public Schools http://vimeo.com/14073214 provides an informative look into what an immersion program entails and how one district in the country has captured the experience. 

    A reminder that we are making a significant shift in focus for our certificated staff evaluation process for the coming year.  After a great deal of consideration, the South Kitsap Education Association (SKEA), South Kitsap Association of Principals (SKAP),and district administration have made a commitment to move to transition to the CEL+5 Instructional Framework.  It is our shared belief that the CEL+5 Framework will better enable us as a district to move forward with focused instructional practices and professional development.  I am looking forward to this upcoming work together.

    Warmest regards,

    Michelle Reid, Ed.D.



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  • Thursday Memo

    Posted by Michelle Reid at 8/7/2014

    Wow, what a great learning week!!  The district leadership team has been working diligently all week on improving our instructional leadership skills and preparing to support students, staff and parents in the coming year.  Principals are working with the new instructional framework and watching video class lessons as we come to common calibration of our practice.  This level of commitment from our leadership team underscores the commitment to excellence we have in our district.  Tomorrow is the last day of our week long work and will also include a preliminary meeting on staffing for the start of school classrooms.  Our commitment to reasonable class sizes and a smooth start to the school year is a commitment we take seriously. 

    Amy Miller and Derry Lyons have spent significant time over the past several months updating our district web-site.  Please note the changes and provide any feedback you might have on the design and ease of use:  http://www.skitsap.wednet.edu/site/default.aspx?PageID=1   We are so blessed to have both Amy and Derry and their talent as we have been able to take care of this web-site overhaul without budget ramifications. 

    This week the Board held the official public hearing on the budget for the coming school year.  Tracy Patterson, our new Assistant Superintendent for Business and Operations, did an excellent job of walking the Board and members of the public who attended the hearing through the thinking and planning involved in the development of the budget.  Her presentation is very clear and meets the executive limitations guidelines set out in policy governance for the district.  Additionally, the Citizens Budget Advisory Team has done an extensive amount of work in the prior year to assist us in stabilizing our financial condition.  Thank you. 

    During the course of the past year, Ed Santos, the district Athletic Director, led a committee to review the athletic transition of the ninth graders to the high school for athletic participation.  His summary report highlights some of the challenges and communicates an outline for plans to improve this aspect of the athletic program.  All of our student athletes are important to us and we recognize the importance of this experience as a component of the whole child.  There are many lessons learned in these activities that support learning in the classroom as well as life lessons that will be remembered long into the future. 

    This past week-end, we had a great turnout for the Stuff the Bus activity at Walmart.  Enough school supplies were collected to support approximately one hundred and fifty students as well as close to two hundred and fifty dollars in cash was collected from generous community members.  Thank you to all the staff and parent volunteers who participated in this event.  A big thank you also to the many many community members who gave so generously to support our children.  Just a reminder that the Back to School Event will be Saturday, August, 16 at the high school track.  We look forward to seeing you there.

    The summer food program continues to be going very well. Our food and nutrition staff have served 10,117 meals thus far. Our partnerships with the Regional Library and the Boy Scouts have added additional access to meals for children.  These community partnerships continue to support our children, all of them – no exceptions. 

    I trust that each of you will enjoy the remainder of the week and the coming week-end.  I know we will also continue to support our Seahawks as they play their first preseason game of the year tonight.  Go Hawks !! 

    Warmest regards,

    Michelle Reid, Ed.D.

     

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  • Thursday Memo

    Posted by Michelle Reid at 7/31/2014

    So, this is a great week and the weather is fantastic. With Seafair coming up over the week-end, there are no shortage of fun activities here in the northwest. 

     

    The work in the district continues to focus on infrastructure and facility needs.  The roofing is going well at all roofing sites and the well work as well as the theatre work in the high school are now complete.  Painting is beginning on the exterior of Sunnyslope Elementary School.  This has been planned for a while and will be a nice welcome for new students and parents as they arrive for the new year.  Again, thanks to the generous community support in our recent levy, we are finally able to complete some of these necessary tasks to support our student learning and safety. 

     

    Also, this Saturday and Sunday, August 3 and 4, the Back to School Celebration is teaming up with Walmart for the first annual ‘Stuff the Bus’ with school supplies!  The hours are Saturday, 9 – 6 and Sunday 10 – 4.  Volunteers are needed for both days of the event.  If you would like to volunteer please contact Eurydice Pentz at (360) 874-7058 or email her at pentz@skitsap.wednet.edu

     

    Ninth grade AP Human Geography teachers were in working on course planning to support students at the junior highs in the coming fall.  This is a new course to the district and a course new to the ninth grade here in South Kitsap.  We are so excited about the new possibilities for our students and so appreciate these dedicated teachers willing to undertake this groundbreaking academic work.  Thank you.

     

    The Spanish Immersion class is filling rapidly with very few seats left so anyone out there still thinking of becoming part of this unique learning community should likely complete an application as soon as possible for consideration in the fall class.  This program has so many advantages for the language acquisition, especially for the very young.  If you are interested in knowing more about the program, please take a moment to view the following video as it is a successful language program that we are modeling our program after: http://vimeo.com/14073214 .   If you have any questions or want more information, please call the district office at (360)874-7000 for more information.

     

    District staff are working hard to prepare for the Tenth Annual Back to School Celebration.  This is such an important activity for our students, families and community.  It is also a unique effort that highlights the compassion and dedication the staff of the district and schools have for the educational future of all of our children – no exceptions.  This event will take place on Saturday, August 16, beginning at 11:00 am.  Last year, we recorded approximately five thousand people who attended.  Thank you all staff and to our community partners. This is an example of collaboration between the schools and the community.  Many businesses and persons in the community have donated money and supplies to support this necessary endeavor.  Many others will also be donating their time to be present on Saturday for immunizations, haircuts and to share more about community activities.  We so appreciate it.  Thank you. 

     

    On Tuesday, August 5, our 2014-2015 budget hearing will take place during the regularly scheduled Board meeting beginning at 6:00 pm here in the district office.  We anticipate proposing a budget for the upcoming year that will continue to stabilize our finances while staying true to our commitment to lower class size and maintain exceptional educational opportunities for all children – no exceptions.  The budget will have its final approval slated for August 19. 

     

    I trust you will have a great week-end and upcoming week. 

     

    Warmest regards,
     

    Michelle Reid, Ed.D.

     
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  • Thursday Memo

    Posted by Michelle Reid at 7/24/2014

    What a great week, though maybe better weather for ducks than us.  I am grateful for the rain as our fields and landscaping need the nourishment.  Hopefully, the rain is also providing much needed respite for the firefighters and residents so hard hit by the recent fires in eastern Washington. 

     

    “As a nation, we are obsessed with data and indicators when it comes to the economy. We track the gross domestic product, the Consumer Price Index, unemployment, inventories, housing starts, interest rates and so on. We monitor these numbers because they are critical to understanding where our economy is heading, and because we want to be able to respond forcefully if the numbers signal developing problems.  We should be equally, if not more, concerned about the data that tell us how our children are doing: The well-being of our country’s children is the most important indicator of our long-term economic and social future.”  Since 1990, KIDS COUNT has ranked states annually on overall child well-being using an index of key indicators.  The attached report summarizes the current data and I think it is critical to review, understand and address as we move forward as a district, state and nation.  “Improving outcomes for all children is essential for our nation to remain strong, stable and globally competitive.”

     

    This week, there was more news on the current ESEA situation as it affects us in our state.  While our state requested a waiver on sending the ‘letters’ to families regarding the ESEA metrics, we have been turned down.  State Schools Superintendent Randy Dorn requested that the Department of Education extend reasoned flexibility; but, as the first and so far only state to lose its waiver status, there will be no exception granted on the sending of the letters regarding NCLB requirements.  I believe that we have excellent schools here in the South Kitsap School District, and hardworking staff every day doing whatever it takes to improve the teaching and learning experience for each child – no exceptions.  Like many across this country, I believe there are enough difficult strategic initiatives we are shouldering (many of which have been prescribed by those outside education) that we do not need any further negative energy to mitigate.  In our house, we will continue to nurture growth, inspire achievement and build community. 

     

    I am so excited that five of our principals spent four days this week at a statewide STEM Leadership Conference to support this important initiative in our schools.  These principals will share their learning with the rest of the administrative team at our Summer Administrative Institute (SAI) slated for the first week of August. 

     

    As we review the resourcefulness of our staff and departments, I continue to be so impressed with our can do attitude and work ethic in this district.  As Ariane Shanley, our Food and Nutrition Services Director, was working on getting some equipment replaced, notably the dishwasher at Olalla Elementary, she ran across the invoice for the machine that is currently in the building. It was purchased used in 1967.  This symbolizes the care and dedicated attention we take in our work.  Our stewardship of the public trust and financial resources is something we take a great deal of pride in here in the South Kitsap School District.  Further, I think we got our money’s worth on this model.

     

    The Facilities Department continued its busy summer schedule this week.  The Sidney Glen roof project is proceeding well and is on schedule for completion.  This has been a complicated project and covers a large amount of square footage.  This project has required a significant amount of coordination from the facilities department and flexibility from Sidney Glen staff as well.  The major part of the well project at Olalla Elementary has been completed.  This will significantly improve accessibility to water for the school and is much appreciated.  There are so many people that all play such an important role in the success of our district mission.  Thank you. 

     

    I toured the summer school program classes this morning and found a significant number of young people actively learning a variety of topics.  Thanks again to the hardworking staff who have made this possible and the parents supporting their students in getting to classes every day during the short summer session. Further, our summer food program is going very well, having served 7672 meals to date this summer.

     

    Please continue to enjoy this summer and find time to be with family and friends. 

     

    Warmest regards,

     

    Michelle Reid, Ed.D.

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  • Thursday Memo

    Posted by Michelle Reid at 7/18/2014

    And so, another great summer week.  Things have continued to be busy in the maintenance and facilities realm with many large projects being worked on across the district.  We are so blessed to have so many hard working maintenance and custodial staff who are working so hard to maintain and prepare our facilities for mountain top student learning experiences in the coming years.  Thank you also to the dedicated staff who are supporting several hundred students in summer school located at South Kitsap High School this summer.  The new skill center career and technical education (CTE) courses this summer have been both exciting and well attended, and are proving to be a great resource for our school district students who have not previously had this opportunity.  Kudos to all the CTE staff that have made this opportunity for our kids possible.

    At the Board meeting this week, we had an opportunity to review the current budget and have our first look at the preliminary budget for the upcoming 2014-15 school year.  As the result of all of your hard work and disciplined budget management, we are in a much more stable financial position today than we were a year ago.  I think we have all learned a great deal about the budget and its components in the past year.  As we continue to build the general fund balance, we will be mindful of the accuracy of our enrollment projections and trust that as the months move forward, our projected enrollment and new student enrollment will be monitored closely.  I invite you to attend our public budget hearing on Tuesday, August 5, just prior to the regularly scheduled Board meeting.  We plan to formally adopt the 2014-15 district budget on August 19, at the regularly scheduled Board meeting for that night.  We welcome your feedback and input on this topic as it affects all of us. 
     
    We are posting the elementary specialist positions today to support the added sections of all-day kindergarten.  Two full time equivalent (FTE) teachers will be hired for this work (one physical education teacher and one music teacher).  Principals and district administrators will be meeting in the very near future to lay out the specifics of the scheduling for these new positions as we keep the commitment made to not cut further into support teacher positions for this purpose.  Currently, the number of kindergartners enrolled is larger than in previous years so we are working to be proactive in responding to classroom support as we want to ensure a smooth start of the coming school year. 
     
    In a continuing effort to examine the costs we are incurring for district wide support, so that we are in a position to best direct our financial resources to the classroom and the educational experience for our children, we are reviewing all our contracts and service agreements.  Where we can, we are moving to options that are less expensive and still provide excellent service.  This is how families operate as finances are strained.  We have to save where we can so that we can do the things we would like to do and that align with the mission and vision of our great district.  To this end, we will be moving to a different insurance carrier for the district; and in the process we will be saving at least $125,000.00 that can be used for other projects.   We will likely also be able to realize other legal expense savings.  The Board presentation made by the insurance pool we will be joining is illustrative of the quality of coverage we will be receiving, even as we are able to save a significant amount of money for the district. 
     
    The Spanish Immersion class is filling rapidly with very few seats left so anyone out there still thinking of becoming part of this unique learning community should likely complete an application as soon as possible for consideration in the fall class.  This program has so many advantages for the language acquisition, especially for the very young.  I am so thrilled that the staff at Burley Glenwood are taking on this program. 
     
    The Board reviewed the policy revisions to the Highly Capable Program as the new state legislation requires changes in our current policy.  This summer a significant number of our library staff and other district staff, are attending the Edufest Conference in Boise, Idaho as we learn more about site based highly capable programming.  Edufest is the Northwest’s premier summer conference on gifted and talented education. Keynotes, Institutes, Strands, and Special Topic presentations are by internationally and nationally recognized experts in the field of gifted and talented education.  Topics focus on the 21st Century Learning, Common Core, Differentiation, STEM and Creativity.  Edufest is a week-long summer conference held on the campus of Boise State University, Boise Idaho.  This will be the 18th year for Edufest.   Edufest is a non-profit education entity.
     
    Finally, I wish each of you a continued time of reflection and renewal as these summer weeks bring new opportunities to learn and grow. 
     
    Warmest regards,
     

    Michelle Reid, Ed.D.

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